Popular social news service Digg has announced some changes to its API (our Digg API Profile) and their commercial terms of services that should make existing and prospective developers who use the API a bit happier. As John Quinn explains on the Digg Blog:
One of the most requested features has been for a search Endpoint and we’re excited to make it available in this release. This feature utilizes the same search functionality introduced a couple months back with the overhaul of Digg search and provides a powerful solution for finding specific content on Digg. You’ll be able to use the advanced shortcuts, common search tricks, as well as search by source (domain). See the Search API documentation for more details.
We’ve also added a series of related stories endpoints, so that you can find related information for any story on Digg. One variation finds stories similar diggers have dugg. Another returns stories with similar keywords. Finally, we’ve included an endpoint for favorites on Digg, which are an indication of the stories that people find exceptional in some manner.
In addition to the new API capabilities, Digg has reworked its API license agreement by removing most of the commercial use restrictions. This not-so-subtle change has profound implications, as it is likely to lead to a proliferation of commercial mashups and applications that provide potential a more viable (and legal) means on monetization.
Finally, a significant but subtle change we want to announce is a reworking of our API license. We want to give developers more control over the applications they develop by removing most of the commercial limitations. Developers should now have the confidence that they can benefit from the works they create using the Digg API, with full ownership free of fees!
It certainly is interesting to see Digg modify its API terms to provide a more favorable scenario for commercial use of the API. We are curious to see whether some of the other API providers that currently restrict or prohibit commercial use will follow suit by making concessions for commercial use in the near future. As more and more APIs become available, often for services that have similar and/or overlapping developer communities, API licensing terms that are more favorable for commercial use are likely to serve as a key differentiator, and additionally as an incentive, in the eyes of developers.